NEW DELHI: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has been declared a proclaimed offender and the process to attach his assets has been initiated, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said today.
It said the order declaring Naik a proclaimed offender was issued recently by a special court in Mumbai, after which the process of attachment of his assets "under section 83 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has been initiated".
Naik is being probed under terror and money-laundering charges by the NIA. He fled from India on July 1, 2016 after terrorists in neighbouring Bangladesh claimed that they were inspired by his speeches on waging a 'jihad' (holy war).
According to the 'Middle East Monitor', an online news portal, Naik has already been granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia. However, there has not been any independent verification of this claim so far.
Naik had his passport renewed in January, 2016 for 10 years.
The NIA, on November 18, 2016, had registered a criminal case against the controversial preacher at its Mumbai branch under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
His organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), was declared an "unlawful association" by the government a day before the NIA registered the case.
Naik is accused of spreading hatred by his provocative speeches, funding terrorists and laundering crores of rupees over the years.